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Paris-based consultancy COMvergence has released its annual ranking of top global and U.S. media agencies by projected 2018 buying billings and market share.

Omnicom Media Group’s OMD tops both lists.

Globally, COMvergence estimated that OMD collected $18.3 billion in billings for 2018 and has a market share of 6.3 percent. In the U.S., the network gained an estimated $7.9 billion in media buying billings and a market share of 6.1 percent, according to the study.

Second on the global list of agency leaders is GroupM’s Mindshare with $16.6 billion projected billings for 2018 and a market share of 5.7 percent. COMvergence ranked Dentsu Aegis Network-owned Carat at third among global leaders with an estimated $14.6 billion in billings and a 5 percent market share worldwide.

At a holding group level, the report showed that WPP’s GroupM is still the “clear global leader” with a 15.5 market share and $45.1 billion in global billings for 2018, followed by Publicis Media and Omnicom with an expected $33.6 billion in billings and a market share of 11.6 percent and $31.8 billion in billings and a 10.9 percent market share, respectively.

GroupM may be the global leader for 2018 but when judged by worldwide market share growth alone over the last year, according to the report, it was the only of the “big six” holding companies to post a decline (of 1.3 percent). IPG’s Mediabrands and Dentsu had the strongest year-over-year global market share growths of 8.2 percent and 7.7 percent, respectively.

In estimated new billings for 2018, WPP’s Initiative had the largest increase globally ($750 million) but the holding company’s Wavemaker (a part of GroupM) posted negative growth, as did Publicis-owned Blue 449, according to the report.

In the U.S. this year, COMvergence said, “significantly,” independent agency Horizon Media ranked second with an estimated $7.2 billion in domestic billings and a 5.5 percent market share—that comes as holding companies continue to miss in the critical U.S. market. Carat came in third with a projected $6.8 billion in U.S. billings and a market share of 5.2 percent in the U.S.

At the holding group level in the U.S., the report showed Publicis leading the pack with an estimated $17.6 billion in billings for 2018 and a 13.5 percent market share across its five agencies: Blue 449, Spark Foundry, Starcom, Zenith and Connect at PM.

Omnicom came in second in the U.S. with projected 2018 billings of $15.2 billion and a market share of 11.7 percent spanning agencies Hearts & Sciences, OMD and PHD. GroupM ranked third with an estimated $14.6 billion in U.S. billings and an 11.2 percent market share across m/SIX, Essence, MediaCom, Mindshare, Wavemaker and Team Nestle, according to the report.

Dentsu and Mediabrands collected an estimated $8.2 billion and $8.1 billion in total U.S. billings for 2018, respectively, while Havas Media Group only gained $2.1 billion in domestic billings, the report said. MDC Partners is only estimated to have garnered $1.5 billion in U.S. billings this year.

The COMvergence study further proves that “most of the challenges at agency holding companies have been on the creative agency side,” senior marketing analyst Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research Group said in a note. “By contrast, media agencies are generally holding up well, if less well than in the pre-2016 era.”

Still, Wieser said that ongoing transparency concerns, fee compression for like-for-like services and “still modest (but fear-inducing) in-housing of programmatic” are likely leading marketers to reduce ad spending with major media agency partners. “We think much of the growth that we are seeing in the paid media marketplace is coming from marketers who do not necessarily use large agency networks,” he added.

Wieser estimated that media agencies account for 20 percent of WPP’s total revenue, 25 percent of Publicis Groupe’s revenue and 15 percent of Dentsu’s, Omnicom’s and IPG’s annual revenues.

COMvergence’s report showed that approximately 19 international media agency networks owned by the six holding companies hold a 54 percent share of the total roughly $290 billion global media spend, while the remaining 46 percent is held by independent agencies or in-house operations. The firm broke down the $290 billion global media spend by country: North America (45 percent), Europe, the Middle East and Africa (26 percent), Asia-Pacific (26 percent) and Latin America (3 percent).

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